How scary-capable deepfakes have become

This video of Tom Cruise is a computer-generated fake.

In a series of tweets, Rachel Tobac, the CEO of SocialProof Security, warns that deepfakes like @deeptomcruise threaten to further erode public trust in a world where media literacy is poor and people already can’t agree on what’s true or false. Like the black and gold dress, where one person might notice giveaways that the Tom Cruise videos are synthesized, another might not know the signs of a fake and swear up and down that they’re real…

“Just because you feel you can personally tell the difference between synthetic & authentic media, it doesn’t mean we’re good to go,” she says. “It matters what the general public believes.”

Like most longtimey geeks, I recognize the many corrupt uses to which this class of software will be dedicated. Guaranteed. But, I count on…

1. Equally talented geeks coming up with software which will detect and label the criminal and political productions waiting in the wings.

2. Responsible types will publicize the fakes as such…and identify and expose the creepier flavor of geeks out there willing to participate in criminal abuse of advances in technology.

Wheels down on Mars, once again


First image from Perseverance

NASA folks land on Mars, again. I switched onto the NASA Channel to check on how they were doing…and the lander had chute deployed and about 7 kilometers above the surface of Mars.

It was just halftime in the Europa League football match I was watching; so, I quick ran to get my wet-and-snow walking shoes – to change while watching. I usually start a couple laps of our fenceline at halftime if I’m watching footie and we got a few more inches of snow, last night.

They spiked the landing. Truly fun to watch for an old time science and scifi geek like me. Nice to see reality match fiction.

Check your local TV access for progress!

“Clarice” is a mediocre TV spinoff from a great movie

I admit I didn’t take enough time looking for reviews of “Clarice”. After trying to watch episode 1, tonight, I probably should have looked beyond USAToday. Generally, reliable. But, more sophisticated, intricate, might have kept me from wasting a half-hour in front of the TV, tonight.

Yes, the episode is longer than that. I just couldn’t stay with a season opener that could have been something more than crap. Here’s the link to the USAToday review.

In one sentence, I blame the producer/director combo who evidently “guided” the writing into something trite, predictable, and pissed me off enough that I couldn’t find it in me to watch all the way through.

The writing was competent, well-crafted, un-windy. Story line a mediocrity.

Is this a brand worth buying?

With extremely rare exception, I watch Fox NOTHING! If they approached reasonable humanity, someday, in the political management of their content, I’d consider changing my attitude. Of course.

There is also no shortage of great sports programming, short fiction, long-form film-making, musical entertainment…you name it…to be found within the multiplicity of channels streaming from watchable sources available damned near everywhere. More than I can keep up with.

So, screw the pricks sucking up advertising dollar$ that benefit the current and future waves of fascist, racist, bigoted ideology that keeps the shit-end of human beings from being as poverty-stricken as their hearts and cruel minds.

Exorcist pea soup

The radiological technician in ‘The Exorcist” who gives Regan a medical examination to find out what is wrong with her was played by Paul Bateson, who would later be convicted of murder and is a suspected serial killer. In fact that whole scene existed because William Friedkin saw him assist in a real life procedure and wanted it in the movie, and Bateson was cast because his boss Dr Lane- also in the scene- asked that he and the nurse be in it. The whole thing was shot on-location in his place of work and Bateson is the one with the most dialogue in the scene, calmly talking Regan through things in the exact same manner he did real life child patients.

Har!

How I spent my afternoon…

Friday is bread-baking day for me, anyway; so, I don’t keep up full pace walking. But, I’m sitting in the living room after the first mile or so, just surfing on the iPad, when Helen gives me a shout from the study. She’s been checking online to see what footie was on, today…and Caley Thistle is on!

This happens about once a year here in Santa Fe – even online – if I’m lucky and the wind is from the East! So, I dash to the study and find my Caley scarf, switch on ESPN+, and wait and wait till match time.

Just a quick snap up top from the first half a while after the first goal of the match. Final score: Queen of the South 0 – 3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Three cheers for Caley Thistle!

GOP rolled out 3 school-level cheapfakes… phony video from a party full of phonies


Steve Scalise and bubbas have apparently given up on truth-telling

In the last days of August, with the clock ticking down until Election Day, senior Republican officials pulled off a disinformation hat trick: Over the course of two short days, figures affiliated with the GOP published three different deceptively edited videos on social media.

First, on the morning of Aug. 30, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise tweeted out a video of a conversation between Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and disabled activist Ady Barkan, manipulating Barkan’s words in the service of the false claim that Biden had agreed to defund the police.

That same day, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino shared a tweet with a deceptively edited clip that appeared to show Biden falling asleep during a TV interview.

The final offering came the next day from the Trump campaign account @TrumpWarRoom, which posted a three-second video that purported to show Biden saying, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

All three productions are characterized by amateurish, cheapass editing of existing TV footage. Manipulating sentence structure, clumsy cutting and splicing, didn’t produce anything winning prizes for skill and deceit. The point apparently was to reinforce the bigotry and dimbulb arguments held by devout trumpkins.

The “quality” of sleaze the Republican Party has reached – following their Fearless Leader – only excels at stink!